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Hermit Claims 70 Years Survival Without Food

7:14 AM, Apr 29, 2010   |    comments
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(CBS) -- Doctors and scientists have expressed amazement at an observational study of a hermit in India's western Ahmedabad city who claims to have survived without food since last 70 years.

The Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) are carrying out the study on Prahlad Jani, alias Mataji, at a private hospital to understand the phenomenon behind his claim.

Jani, 82, resides near Ambaji in western Gujarat state, and has claimed to have shunned food and water since the age of 8. He has said that the Hindu goddess Amba has given him survival powers.

He will be kept under the observation at the Sterling hospital for the next 15 days and would go through a number of tests to determine how he has survived.

It will take around two months before there are any conclusive results from the tests.

Dr G Ilavazhagan, Director of DIPAS told a recent news conference that the aim behind the study is to look at how people may be able to survive long periods of time without food and water and that scientists would be studying the phenomena looking at physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology.

"This may help in working out strategies for survival without food and water when it is not available, for example, in natural calamities, people face this situation. Similarly, our soldiers may also face this situation when they are left in the deserts or in forest or in high altitude areas," he said.

He added that it would be major achievement for science and medicine if such a phenomenon could be replicated.

"India is now proposing to have missions to moons, manned mission to moon and in the long run to Mars, also. So how people can survive, this strategy, if we understand how people are surviving without food and water, that may help us in working out strategies for making people to live food or water for longer duration under various environmental conditions," he added.

Neurologist Sudhir Shah claimed that Jani's survival - and biological processes - are miraculous.

"I want to tell you that we are all watching a miracle in the science, or biology so to say, because he has already 108 hours since Mataji's admission into this hospital and he has not eaten anything; he has not drunk a little drop of any kind of liquid but more importantly, he has not passed a drop of water or stool. That makes science a little difficult. A person can live without food and water for three, four, seven to 12 days and we have studied during ...fasting in the past that people have done fasting for 16 or 30 days, but they were taking water after eight days and certainly they pass urine but this case is a unique phenomena," said Shah.

Shah added that Jani also generates urine in his bladder even though he does not drink water. He further said that when some tests on his brain were conducted, it revealed his brain resembles that of a 25-year-old.

Jani has also claimed that he has a hole in his palate and through his head a drop or two of nectar passes that helps him survive, said Shah.

Doctors also revealed that initial test reports confirmed Jani's body has undergone a biological transformation due to yogic exercises.

A team of about 35 doctors are studying the case and two 24-hour video cameras have been set up in his room while another camera follows him whenever he steps outside.

Doctors also said that was no sign of fatigue or any other problem with the hermit, and he still prefers using stairs to the elevator.

Little is known about Jani's family and he has said that he left home at the age of seven and has wandered in jungles.

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